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Michael Phelps wins gold to “right the wrong” of USA missing out on a medal

Minutes after winning the first of his 2016 gold medals, Michael Phelps interjected into an interview of his teammates "this [victory] was to right a wrong" referencing a loss in 2012 in which he was robbed of a medal apparently. Not because somebody cheated, or a bad call was made, but because Michael Phelps had willed a win that he didn't then earn. Being "wronged" by not being given a medal. Doesnt that pretty much illustrate American Exceptionalism?! As if the US sports media was interested in explaining such a thing. Last minute decisions to let Michael Phelps intercede in further relay teams, for the sake of breaking medal hording records, as opposed to physical feats, comes at a price obviously to the other relay swimmers. We've heard about the hopes of would-be Olympians dashed by the boycotts of 1980 and 1984. Add the Phelps-first priority of 2016.

Hey! The White Wealth Olymics are on!

Olympic commentators are fawning over the winter sports dynasties, some of them actual petty-royal lineages, from European feifdoms and colonial sultanships, family trees full of resort-dwelling ski bums, literally, jetsetters. Agree the commentators: "It's in the genes!"

City For Champions? Colorado Springs is city of blood-doping Olympian cheats

Colorado Springs is not home to an Olympic Training Center because of our competitive nature, proclivity for classic games, nor certainly athletic bloodlines -- it's our high altitude that draws athletes in training so they'll hit the games with a competitive advantage against the majority of teams stuck at sea level. Boosters who look to promote the city's Olympic identity ought maybe admit its true character before taking for granted that people want to celebrate it.

Oops. McDonalds shill Ryan Lochte says he ate sponsor’s food in Beijing, won fewer medals.

Literally, Ryan Lochte scored his piece of silver at the 2012 London Games for endorsing McDonalds' unolympian crap-food. But in London Lochte waited until after his competitive events to "go to McDonalds". His fellow shill Michael Phelps added a vicarious, thus safer, third person endorsement, as one might exclaim "He's going to Disneyland". At the 2008 games in Beijing, Lochte purports to have eaten the official sponsor's crap "for breakfast, lunch and dinner over 10 days" but came away with one less medal. Lochte didn't see SUPERSIZE ME to know his fast food mythology has already been debunked.

Should the London Olympics remember the 1972 Munich Holocaust? Do you?

America can't memorialize the 1972 Munich hostage killings, because that act of terrorism was not unlike our own airstrikes or special ops raids, against purported enemy combatants, off the field of combat, except we don't even try to kidnap them alive.   Of course the Israeli Olympic wrestlers and weightlifters killed in Munich in 1972 should be memorialized. But to call the deaths a massacre pretends the German police meant their ambush to kill everyone.* What happened at the 1972 Olympics is being recalled as the "Munich Massacre" but even the propagandists tweaking the Wikipedia entry don't have the temerity to doff the disclaimer that "massacre" is the informal name. Shall we recall what happened? On September 5, 1972, PLO terrorists infiltrated the Olympic village and tried to kidnap Israeli hostages to exchange for 234 Palestinians held by Israel. Two Israelis fought back and were killed. Next the eight gunman and their nine captives were led into an ambush at a military airfield. After a 1 & 1/2 hour gun battle on the tarmac, trapped under the helicopters by police snipers, the PLO killed four of their captives. A police investigation revealed the remaining five captives may have died in sniper crossfire. This detail is disputed, but a secret financial settlement was sought and reached with German authorities. So, was Munich a massacre or a botched hostage rescue? Do words matter? The Mossad's retaliatory murder of an innocent Moroccan waiter in Norway, mistaken for the Munich mastermind, is trivialized as the Lillehammer Affair. Proponents want an Olympic tribute to the Munich Massacre "so that it never happens again." Boy does that ever have a familiar ring to it. Look out for an Elie Wieselish re-tailoring of the original narrative, Steven Spielberg's Munich being only a recent example of a myth-makeover remembrance. To begin with, the PLO kidnappers were a faction of the PLO called the Black September Brigade, named after the Black September purge of the PLO from Jordan. This ouster, aided by the US and fought by Syria, was initiated by Israel's attack on the village of Karameh, in which the PLO suffered 200 killed, to the IDF's 28. Not a massacre because 150 PLO fighters were taken captive. Wikistorians taking liberties with translation are calling the PLO group "Black September", with the effect of obfuscating the event which preceded the Munich operation. The Munich raid to seize hostages was actually named "Operation Iqrit and Kafr Bir'im" after the Christian villages of Kafr Bir'im and Iqrit, ethnically cleansed by Israel in 1948. Villagers were granted right of return by Israel's supreme court, but overruled by the military. An attempt to return had been repulsed by police as recently as August 1972, as the Olympics began. Next, the identity of the Israeli athletes is always left incomplete. With the exception of the 18 year old Russian immigrant, all the Israeli hostages were IDF soldiers who'd participated in military acts against Palestine, Egypt, lebanon, Jordan, or Syria, and so are not exactly the innocent civilians of current

Do the 2012 London Olympics need extra security forces to protect Israeli athletes or to arrest them?

Organizers are worried about inadequate security for the Olympic Games set to begin next month in London. What security threat are they anticipating exactly? It's true the Olympics have become a bullseye for globalization critics. More and more, both athletes and groupies represent the jet set. But other than past indigenous protests in the Commonwealth territories, which amounted to no more than nonviolent blockades, what does the UK need paramilitary forces to defend against this time? Another 1972 Munich massacre? At the summer Olympics in Munich, the Israeli wrestling team was murdered by PLO terrorists called the "Black September Brigade", but the official narrative leaves off that the Israeli athletes were targeted because they were IDF soldiers who'd participated in the counter-insurgent near-complete rout of the PLO, known as Black September. So that raises an interesting question. Is London expecting to host Israeli athletes who were veterans of Operation Cast Lead or the attack on the Mavi Marmara, whose assassinations someone might want to avenge? British authorities could address that most handily with preemption, because this time the IDF campaign against Gaza was widely regarded to have violated international law. Warn Team Israel that any such veteran setting foot in England would face prosecution for war crimes. While London is at it, issue the same warning to Team USA. Yeah, and Team UK, and Team Germany, et cetera, for Afghanistan, Libya, now Syria. It's become the 2012 NATO War Criminals Olympics, gone professional, no amateur status terrorists need apply.

Wikileaks Cablegate on 2008 Olympics: US rats on Dutch radio avoiding IOC & Chinese censors via complex intertubes

Aftenposten's monopoly on unleaked-by-Wikileaks-leaks went comparatively stale this weekend for American readers at least, but there was this nugget in a Beijing Olympics "Situation Report." The last item of an August 21, 2008 diplomatic cable told how a Dutch pirate radio operation was able to circumvent Chinese censors and an International Olympic Committee exclusivity contract. By reporting "Radio 538 is using a complex system of ISDN telephone lines," the US embassy was less ratting out the Dutch than revealing its own misunderestimation of Chinese internets and/or intertubes. 22. (U) Dutch Radio Station Evades Censors: The Dutch commercial broadcaster Radio 538 on 08/19/2008 continued to defy both the Chinese censors and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by broadcasting live from Beijing during the Olympic Games, according to a Dutch radio report. Officially, the only Dutch broadcaster registered to broadcast from Beijing during the Olympics is public broadcaster NOS. Unlike officially registered broadcasters, Radio 538 is not required to send its feed through the Olympics Broadcast Center, where Chinese authorities could theoretically censor its output. Instead, Radio 538 is using a complex system of integrated service digital networks (ISDN) telephone lines to transmit its broadcasts out of Beijing and to foil authorities´ attempts to block its transmissions. Radio 538´s connection with its Beijing studio has been down for only 20 minutes on one day since the beginning of the Olympics, according to the Dutch radio report. For the regularly appended list of USG cables released exclusively in Norway, check this Aftenposten link. For a daily summary written for an English audience, check Views and News from Norway.

“Warrior” drops peacekeeping pretense

COLO. SPRINGS- Just down the street, all week, the Olympic Training Center hosts the Warrior Games, a Special Olympics for wounded vets. And there it is. Not injured peace- keepers, not disabled freedom-bringers, not usurpers of foreign lives and liberty taken down a notch, but Wounded fucking Warriors. I suppose it had a ring to it that trumped showing moral decorum. We're soliciting slogans for a cross-the-street banner. BABY KILLING, cost: ARM & LEG CLEAN CONSCIENCE: PRICELESS Is that to mean undue disrespect? Just what part of 1.4 million deaths seems out of proportion to you? If "warrior" is just a word, so is killer. Why not wounded paid-killers? Or wounded not-sorry death dealers? Again, if disabled veterans need something to keep themselves busy and out of the halls of the VA, they can give back to Iraq or Afghanistan and stop feeding the Department of Defense propaganda machine. A four star general joined the Colorado governor to give props to their uniformed mercenaries. All volunteer, remember. Do they recognize the harm they did? Do they feel like they were duped into the deeds? They've got a lot more soul searching to do if they think salvation will come of rolling up and down a basketball court in a wheelchair. Community Service. Figure it out. Support the troops? Of Course -- Bring them home! Proud of our boys? You've got to be kidding.

Rachael Flatt will not be assimilated

Rachael Flatt is neither fat nor homely, but it doesn't take an Olympic judge to downgrade her prospects in figure skating. Embarrassingly, sports commentators were poised to preempt confused TV viewers from sitting up in alarm. Who is this stout little duckling flailing, albeit with precision, among our swans? The awkward freshness of Flatt's execution made it look all the more miraculous, but I think the between-the-lines verdict was that Flatt flunked her screen test. Words like graceful and beautiful pepper the usual skating play-by-play, but not when Rachael Flatt was on the ice. Compare their stilted discomfort to her airtime to their effusive fawning over everyone else. No sooner was it Rachael's turn than announcers began to interject praise for her great personality and high intellect. I doubt not a few of Olympic competitors are very bright, but apparently Rachael runs a deficit of qualities for which the color commentary must over-compensate. It seemed as much to apologize for whatever freak accident of competition left the door open to Flatt, as to prepare the audience for the judges' swift condemnation. Were they surprised when Flatt skated flawlessly? Apparently it's not enough to be the athlete, Olympic skating requires a ballerina. I thought that's what Ice Dancing was for. It's no coincidence that Olympic faces are only the most beautiful, all with straight white teeth. Colorado Springs High schooler Rachael Flatt is imperfectly lovely, possessed of a photogenic quality all her own, if not theirs. Did you know the Olympics mean to celebrate only humanity's televisible champions? Presenters and judges alike know what they are after. The Olympics are a showcase for the epitome of our ideals, not merely athletic feats, but our aesthetic aspirations. It's a 4-H meet for eugenics.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic destinations

Amtrak Station 1150 Station Street Apple Store at Pacific Center, 701 West Georgia Street USA House at Level, 1022 Seymour Street Hilton Metrotown 6083 McKay Avenue Olympic Tent City protest encampment, 58 West Hastings Street Adbusters Magazine Culture Jammers, 1243 West 7th Avenue RED THREAD marks the 2/13 demonstration against Opening Ceremonies. Protesters assembled at the Vancouver Art Gallery, marched down West Georgia Street, south on Homer Street, around Public Library and unto Robson Street where violence erupted as they were blocked from reaching BC Place.

Forget Olympic Gold, US claims a ring

The Olympic rings represent continents don't they? I can almost see the globe laid flat traversed by the five rings, even the colors seem culturally appropriate. B, Y, Bk, G, R are the US, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. What is North America but the US with its oil reserves isolated in the state of Canada and its cheap non-citizen labor pool confined in the state of Mexico? Actually the Olympic organization conflates South America with North to accommodate a ring for Oceania. Australia can have a ring of clear wallpaper. The indigenous revolution of Latin America deserves a ring of African dimension. If any powers can stand merging it's US and EU. The Winter Olympics could be represented by a single white ring. By an odd coincidence E.U. are the European Union's initials for les Etats Unis, the United States.

McDonalds: Eat Like Fat Olympians

The authentic moment in the McDonalds commercial "Eat Like Olympians" is where an athlete walks amazed past tables of A-list Olympians stuffing their faces with Chicken McNuggets. He's not starstruck, but dumbstruck at the sight of athletes poisoning themselves/selling out. Would they, could they? Not and hope to win. Center stage is US speed skater JR Celski and it's a damn shame. I always hope medalists will seize their moment in the spotlight to hold their fists high like Mexico 1968. No, they're so self-obsessed they shill for McDonalds and dope the minds of their admirers with Olympic strength toxin. Canadian audiences have to suffer a wide campaign of misinformation from a handful of their Olympic hopefuls: Cassie Campbell, Brad Martin, Crispin Lipscomb, Cindy Klassen, Shawn Johnson, and Patrick Chan. Each pretending to eat the garbage. How is being received? Have a look at this preteen rebuttal on Youtube entitled Olympics + McDonalds = Fat Olympians whose main character is a loving tribute to Shaun White.

Olympic opening ceremonies dedicated to the late inhabitants of Marjah

With television viewers transfixed by the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, US Marines in Afghanistan are undertaking an explosive Fallujah-class opening ceremony in Helmand Province against the little town of Marjah, a so-called Taliban stronghold. Thousands of Afghans who couldn't get out in time have been cast as burning stuntmen for this remote reenactment of western expansion via genocide; a nod, if not an acknowledgment of the remnants of Vancouver's native resistance. Will Marjah be lit up on cue with the arrival of the Olympic torch, spectacle-wise?

Woe to the lowly in Rio

Despite the efforts of Oprah and the Obamas, it didn't take the International Olympic Committee long to eliminate Chicago from the competition to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Expected to be one of the final two candidates, the city was ousted in the first round. I'm sure this intends a complex message to reach feeble American-warmonger-greedy-capitalist-bully-imperialist-fat-faced-consumer-run-amok ears, and one that I'm sure we'll not take time to understand. Okay, so, whatever. Congrats to Rio! But, no! Woe to the poor and marginalized of Rio is a more authentic sentiment. Olympic victory has put them all in harm's way, to be sure. According to the Geneva-based Centre of Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), hosting the Summer Games is an excellent excuse to have a big ol' poverty crack down. COHRE has documented the following housing trends in Olympic host cities: evictions of tenants from low-rent housing; evictions resulting from gentrification; significant decreases in boarding-house stock; inflated real-estate prices; weakened legislation protecting tenants; criminalization of poverty; temporary or permanent privatization of public space; and temporary or permanent suppression of human rights and, particularly, freedom of assembly. Congrats to Chicago are in order.

Obama relinquishes O to Olympics

I thought the decision of where to host the 2016 Olympics might have been an offer the IOC couldn't refuse. Copenhagen faced giving the West's Great White Hope an early black eye, but didn't hesitate. Chicago's loss is no TKO for Obama, but it doesn't help a fighter to trip on the ropes when everyone's holding their breath for "Waterloo." I find it odd that Democratic party strategists thought it worth the risk to pit the 0-0 bantamweight against Latin America, the original "Si Se Puede!" Curious timing on David Letterman's part, taking center stage with an impromptu television confession, extorted on the eve of the Girl From Ipanema's predicted triumph.

Yes we can, host the 2016 Olympics

President Obama came into office with quite a checklist: Stop war-making, Close Guantanamo, End renditions/torture, Rescind the Patriot Act, Restore the rule of law, Address global warming, Reform US health care, Re-regulate bankers, Talk to Iran, and doubtless many other items, including Secure the 2016 Olympics for Chicago.   Are his handlers staking the measure of his success on the last one?

Obama said The Ukraine not Ukraine tsk

On the subject of spinning the debates...   Did you hear about Barack Obama's horrible gaffe in the first debate?! According to public radio, Obama referred to "The Ukraine" instead of the less diminutive "Ukraine" sans-the. PRI's The World trotted out tsk-tsks from a Ukrainian-accented expert who derided Obama for his un-PC insensitivity to her country's post-Soviet independence. Self-respecting nations don't require "the" to distinguish them apparently. "The" is only for provinces or regions, the expert explained. The Balkins, the Riviera --I can't remember her examples. Certainly you wouldn't say The France, unless you were referring to the ocean liner. How undiplomatic for Obama to malign poor proud "Ukrayina." The would-be statesman [in evident need of more experience] should come visit, suggested the expert. But the report revealed [Instead] Obama was campaigning in Ohio. Shall we look into what the Ukrainian expert didn't explain: why English speakers unconsciously need to add "the" before Ukraine? Is it simply because we used to, when Ukraine was a part of Russia, and then a member of the USSR. But we didn't say the Georgia, or the Belorusse... Unless we meant THE Republic of Belarus. But that rule applies to every formal title. Then also we say the United States, we say the UK, and we say the People's Republic of China. We say the Netherlands, but not the Finland, nor the Afghanistan. We do not add THE to any of the -stan states, which was a Russian suffix meaning "land." Perhaps as we don't use THE for nations ending in -land either. We say the Philippines. We say the the Maldives. There seems to be a pattern related to territories in the plural. So it's nothing to do with client states but rather collected lands. As usual, I've entertained myself before doing the research. 1. The Ukraine Is the Ukraine (I can't help but say it that way) a reference to plural regions? Or is there some other idiomatic pattern which governs usage for English-speakers? The answer turned out to be the former. Apparentely, Ukrayina is named after the Old East Slavic for "border region." The Territories of Ukraine were the old Russian empire's western edge. Perhaps this suggests why Ukrainians want to be considered their own land, and not part of someone else's. There, the expert is right. A historically geographical name does not suggest a sovereign nation. The Transvaal, the Yukon, the Sahara, the Midlands on England's border to Scotland. I think it's interesting that no US state needs a "the," compared to their previous incarnations as the Dakota Territories, the Louisiana Purchase, etc. But to complicate the matter, in the Ukrainian language the word means "country." Doesn't it go against their own tongue to eliminate the definite article? To refer to either concept, country or border, requires "the." At least I know it is so in English. Which is my point here. Since their independence from the USSR the Ukraine has asserted an identity minus "the." The distinction is for diplomatic papers. So I'm

World will see the same authoritarian circus at Beijing, Denver, and St. Paul

.... Late summer authoritarianism is going full blast now! Nobody seems to be worried about anything in the Big Disconnect Universe. All is the same rosy lock-stock-and-barrel circus of grinning authoritarian clowns, as they talk empty 'Change' , Homeland Security, and athletic prowess in uniform military formations. It's the Brave New World immediately before the world-wide Ecological Apocalypse! It was China's turn last week but now it is Klown Colorado LittleTon's turn to co-host with the Democrats the Grand Show! To be followed of course, with the POW Hero Bomber and Christian Right's ring of Carnival FunHouse nuts on parade. Oh what a display for the world to watch! Such inanity in such a short period of preCollapse time on display. Pre? Well, let's not toy with when, where, and how, but it's Collapse still for sure. All the slow, slow incremental types are in Rapture but what a false pretend kind of Rapture they are having. Joe Biden is the leader at their head now! No, they do not convince neither here nor there, and the whole world will see the same authoritarian circus everywhere! We look and do not believe how deluded our fellow citizens self-deceive. Vote for the Grand Morass? Or smile and sigh? It's all Great Big Disconnect. There sure were a lot of the Thug Force out in squads the first day out. The highlight of the march was when Fox News showed up to bait us, but themselves got run off the field. And everywhere, cops, cops, cops, and more cops. Pigs on horses, pigs in the air, pigs every everywhere! Enough to keep most people away. Nothing but a big silly show.

Tiki Barber is my hero

Beware. This is going to be a rant.   Today, I met with great misfortune. I watched MSNBC's unbelievably sub-par coverage of the Olympics. Jenna Wolfe, know-nothing sports commentator extraordinaire, was recounting her favorite moments of the Games. To her, the most poignant moment was American swimmer, Dara Torres, being wonderfully gracious in defeat. Torres didn't win, but the moment was inspiring nonetheless. Wolfe's asswipe co-commentator back home, tight-pants Tamryn someone-or-another, chimed in "if you're not first, you're last." You have got to be fucking kidding me. Dara Torres, 41-year-old mother of two children, is competing in her FIFTH Olympic Games. She's medaled in each and every one. In Beijing, she took silver in the women's 50-meter freestyle race, .01 seconds behind the 22-year-old winner, Britta Steffen. About 35 minutes later, she won another silver medal as part of the American 4x100-meter medley relay team. Her 12 Olympic medals tie the all-time medal record for a female Olympian. What a loser. When Jenna Wolfe wasn't supplying us with completely asinine commentary, she was mocking co-host and NFL phenom, Tiki Barber, for not having a Superbowl Ring. My favorite moment of the Games? I'd say it was when Tiki Barber called Jenna Wolfe a cunt on-air for all the world to hear. He's taking all the heat for the "lack of chemistry." But for those of us who understand and revere sport, Tiki's words are pure gold.

If it sounds too good to be true

...it probably is.   Jamaica's Usain Bolt won both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints in world record time, something that hasn't been done in 32 years. The Jamaican women, led by Shelly-Ann Fraser, swept the 100-meter race. Today another Jamaican woman, Veronica Campbell-Brown won the 200 meter sprint. A single country winning gold in all four sprints hasn't happened since the USA did it in 1988. All this metal begs the question, what the hell is going on with the Jamaican runners? I'm much too sweet to have a taste for sour grapes, but it seems likely that the Jamaican sprinters are doping. Their current coach's association with Trevor Graham -- a Jamaican silver medalist in 1988 and coach of Beijing silver medalist Shawn Crawford -- who recently received a lifetime ban from the sport for helping athletes obtain performance enhancing drugs, further fuels suspicion. Of course, the Jamaican Track Federation vehemently denies the doping charges pointing out that the athletes have been tested and retested and, according to team doctor, Herb Elliott, remain "ready at any time at any hour to be tested." Sounds convincing...NOT. The dopers are always body lengths ahead of the U.S. Anti-Doping agency. It makes no difference how many times you test if you're not looking for what they're taking. There is a Jamaican saying likkle likkle mek nuff nuff. Loosely translated it means "a whole lot of a little bit amounts to a whole lot." Or, more simply, it all adds up. Yep, to a whole lot of gold.

Thank you Mr. President for all you do

Isn't it vaguely jarring when someone is asked publicly what would be their fondest wish, and they don't say "world peace?" I feel that way about athletes and celebrities in these times of great conflict. They could say Impeach Bush, Stop Torture, the Media Is Lying, or at the very least, the Emperor Has No Clothes! Instead they feed the media narrative fretting about their quest for a medal, about which we know already. Not to say the reporters aren't eager to run with whatever revelation they get. When Usain Bolt revealed that he fuels his running by eating "nuggets," the press was quick to announce the Fastest Man on Earth eats McDonalds. It's an easy conclusion. Where else are nuggets on a menu but the Mc variety? A convenient conclusion too, as McDonalds is a chief sponsor of the Olympics. They're running adds featuring ex-athletes, in athletic settings, pitching McPhood. Although no Olympic athlete could jeopard his/her health to a McDonalds meal depth-charge. Sports reporters know that too. Shame on them for perpetrating the McNuggets disinfo until Bolt's father could be reached for an explanation. Usain's "nuggets" are a concoction of yams, and no doubt something Jamaican that will soon be ruled out as doping. Reporters did interview an Olympic competitor who's eating plenty at the Beijing McD's. He's an archer, who has no need to move around. Probably his weight stabilizes his aim. Probably too he's got no aspirations for the Pentathlon. The convenient unofficial unsolicited McEndorser weighs 215 pounds. I've heard Olympic athletes are oblivious to real world concerns. Perhaps I can forgive them for not making political statements, even though they have the forum. They're forbidden, but as attention hounds, you'd think they'd notice that the athletes now most honored for the 1968 Mexico City Games were the ones who raised their fists. Instead the 2008 Beijing Olympics has this: heralded to be the best Beach Volleyball duo of all time (The TV announcer kept asking "Can I say it? Can I say this is the best beach volleyball team of all time?!" -even though this sport/spectacle pandering to the NASCAR fans has been part of the Olympics only THREE TIMES BEFORE), the winners had this statement to make, after clearing it with their interviewer. Said Kerri Walsh: "Can I say something? Thank you Mr. President, for your support. And thank you for all that you do!"

Artemev head shoulders and legs above

Did you miss this spectacular moment in men's gymnastics? It was the last round on the pommel horse. Team USA was going for silver, the Japanese were already looking dejected about being left the bronze. The three Americans sent to cleanup were --ironically said the announcers-- each of them alternate team members. And then the unthinkable happened. Well it wasn't unthinkable, I was thinking it. I was rooting against team USA with my blackest might, for being the ass-backward patriotic pawns the US athletes are. I was amused to see Raj trip up, and thrilled when the same thing happened to the Taiwanese-American. Yeeeee! But next up was Sasha Artemev, whose erratic record, we were told, was what disqualified him from the original team. He failed 3/4 of the time. But the 1/4 performance ranked him as world champion on the pommel horse. So as the diminutive boy contemplated his mount, under all the pressure I'd wished upon team USA, it became impossible not to have a change of heart. I'd barely ever watched gymnastics before, but Artemev's performance went from dazzling to miraculous. As a teammate of his told reporters later, for a moment it looked like Artemev might have launched himself skyward from the horse, but he defied antigravity and hung on. Who has ever fought being earthbound except race cars? I doubt even Michael Jordan has to temper his air flight. Never the less, Sasha Artemev whirled like a helicopter tugging against a leash and landed as solid as you hope every time that every gymnast could, beaming, and it was Seabiscuit, Rocky and the Little Engine That Could! But the tension now mounted because Team USA's score had slipped so badly that now the German team was in contention to reach the bronze. Would the Americans medal at all? Everything was up to the German pommel horse numbers. As each German performed his routine, Artemev's act looked all the more luminous. The German routines were executed well, but were completely earthbound by comparison. What could the poor Germans do to compete in such a fix, short of improvise Artemev's leap to the heavens and court probably an infinitely greater than 3/4 chance of failure? Here's a video of an Artemev performance at an earlier gymnastic meet. In this minute and a half, you get to see what the coaches feared would happen in Beijing, then you'll see a preview of what ultimately did.

102 Olympic medals for white swimmers

Michael Phelps his poised to beat Mark Spitz's record for medals won in a single Olympics. Does it say something that both are swimmers? Maybe there are too many swimming events? You don't find 1/2 length, or 1/4 length fencing matches. You certainly don't have shooting medley relays. I can understand the merit of 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter distinctions. Relays also make team sorting events out of pretty plainly singular physical efforts. But do we need those variants at the international level which is often dominated by athlete superstars? If you want to have feel-good team events, perhaps relays could exclude the soloists. How do you account for 34 swimming medal events out of a total of only 302 Olympic events. While baseball as an Olympic sport is being dropped? That's two dozen athletes per team being offered no medal, while one swimmer gets a shot at eight. No to mention that baseball has become dominated by athletes of color, while swimming as yet has not. It's easier for our world neighbors to afford a bat and ball than swimming pools. Not to mention the leisure time necessary for the training. Whereas baseball is a social sport. Is it amazing that America, home of the baseball World Series, played only among North American teams, doesn't medal in the real world series? And how about our loss to Cuba? Even as both countries hold baseball to be the national sport, err, pastime, the match-up is still akin to a class AA school set upon single-room schoolhouse classification. We draw our athletes from a population 303 million, including the Cuban players who defect. Cuba's talent comes from a pool of 11 million.

A fan of McDonald’s

BEIJING- Could there be a more offensive marketing campaign than this one? McDonald's has taken a revered Chinese symbol and turned it into a corporate billboard. Beijing 2008 brought to you by an American fast food chain. In the "open-24/7!" store in the Athlete's Village, McDonald's touts one or two "healthy" menu options buried deep beneath the grease-laden, e-Coli-infected, allegedly-edible garbage they offer. Message to young people: you, too, can bring home Olympic gold if you shove this shit in your mouth and work real real hard. Just don't forget that you must also pay constant homage to Nike, the goddess of victory, except when honoring Ralph Lauren, the lord of the Great Gatsby set. Remember, too, that you mustn't offer up your MasterCard, for that is a grave offense. These gods only accept Visa, your ticket to the world.

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